From insect sense organs to biomimetic walking robots

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Several features of the sensory systems of insects that help them control their extraordinarily adaptable and agile locomotion on land have been reported. There have been a variety of sense organs in insects' legs. These organs are internal such as muscle and stretch receptors, and chordotonal organs. Others that are external include individual sensory hairs, hair plates, and campaniform sensilla. These impressive but often counterintuitive features allow the effects of sensory input to be adjusted continually according to the activity in which the insect is actively engaged, in contrast with hardwired reflexes that must be overcome as the insect switches from one activity to another. Over the years, considerable progress has been made in designing hexapod walking robots over rugged terrain. Research revealed that flexion of the body, and the specific orientation and structure of the front legs were the keys to successful climbing. The challenge in the near future is to continue this progress. A collaboration between biologists and engineers will certainly lead to further advances in biomimetics in the coming years.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)134-137
Number of pages4
JournalIEEE Signal Processing Magazine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Signal Processing
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics

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